Racial Justice Viddui

Racial Justice Viddui – Confessional Prayer

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha… For the sins we have committed

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha… 

We have sinned against you by failing to see the systems of racism upon which our country was built — the conquest and colonization of America that stole the land and lives of millions of American Indians; the slave trade that abducted millions of African souls from their native lands and homes; the Jim Crow South which replaced slavery with segregation; and mass incarceration which replaced Jim Crow – devastating black families, black children’s futures and black communities.

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha…

We have sinned against you by failing to hear the cries of our siblings whose skin is darker than ours, who are targeted, profiled and victimized daily in stores, while driving, and even when calling 911 for help. Our nation has been built on the false narrative that there is a hierarchy of human value.

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha…

We have sinned against for failing to feel our neighbor׳s pain because we were too focused on our own. We have too often compared the pain of antisemitism to the agony of racism, when we know oppression and pain is beyond comparison.

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha…

We have sinned against you for failing to allow the taste of Pesach’s bread of affliction to move us to recognize the countless realms in which color of skin determines outcomes – in healthcare, in housing, in education, in the criminal justice system, in the professional world, and in acquiring wealth. We weep when here “the talk” our black neighbors must give their children to try and keep them safe and alive.

Al cheit shechatanu l’fanecha…

We have sinned against You for failing to speak out… for allowing our fatigue and our fears in addressing the barriers between us to impede our partnership in dismantling the racism that shackles us all.

V’al kulam Eloha slichot, s’lach lanu, m’chal lanu, kaper lanu
For all these sins, O God of mercy, forgive us, pardon us, grant us atonement.

Forgive us for the hurt we have caused when we aimed to heal,
for the pain we have inflicted when we meant to help,
for the oppression we perpetuated when we yearned to redeem.

The journey to justice is long – it takes more than crossing one bridge or giving one sermon.

The journey to justice is long – but together we can complete a significant segment one step at a time: vote by vote, legislative win by legislative win, judicial decision by judicial decision, confession by confession, prayer by prayer, risk by risk, friendship by friendship so that justice may indeed “roll like a river and righteousness like a never-failing stream.”

May our teshuvah (repentance), tzedakah (charity), and our tefillah (prayer) move us to create change. 


Photo by Sarah Ann Photos

No Comments Write a comment

No Comments

Leave a Reply